e-file from an iPad using Microsoft Word® and Safari

    Here's a quick write-up and slideshow I created for a friend who wanted to use her iPad to e-file in Indiana. This tip should work for an iPhone as well (though I haven't tried it...yet).

    Apps required:

    1. Microsoft Word® for iPad (or iPhone)
    2. Safari

    Instructions for e-Filing from your iPad

    1. Install Word for iPad if you don’t have it already.

    2. Create your Word Document. When you are ready to file the document, follow the remaining steps.

    3. Tap on icon shown in Slide 01.


    01 e-file from iPad

    shows the first step of e-filing from Microsoft Word® on your iPad






    1. Tap Export (Slide 02)


    02 e-file from iPad

    shows the second step of e-filing from Microsoft Word® on your iPad







    1. Tap .PDF (Slide 03)


    03 e-file from iPad

    shows the third step of e-filing from Microsoft Word® on your iPad







    1. Choose where you want to save the file (Dropbox) (Slide 04). The first time you set this up, you will need to login to your Dropbox account by clicking “Add a Place” and filling out your username and password for Dropbox. I recommend creating a Electronic Filing folder or something to that effect.


    shows the fourth step of e-filing from Microsoft Word® on your iPad







    1. Tap Export (Slide 05)


    05 e-file from iPad

    shows the fifth step of e-filing from Microsoft Word® on your iPad







    1. Wait while Word does its thing.

    2. Open the e-File and Serve website and file as normal, using the Dropbox connection to upload your files. (You can visit this link to sign up for Dropbox and then convert to Dropbox for business when you are ready)

    3. Contact me with any questions. 🙂

    Read more. . .

    Use TextExpander For Faster Billing Entries


    Anyone who tracks time likely uses certain phrases numerous times per day. While each time entry is unique, it often contains similar components. Those repeated phrases are prime candidates for automated text expansion. Faster billing entries are essential in today's fast moving environment. I use and recommend TextExpander (iOS) and TextExpander (Mac) (there’s also a Windows beta). Entering billable time should be fast and accurate. Automation tools help with both of those metrics.

    These tips can also be used in AutoHotKey (though it will take a bit more configuration).

    Let's Get Started

    Let’s take the phrase “Correspondence to” or “Correspondence from” as examples. You could write two “snippets”, one for each. Or, you could use some more advanced techniques and save even more time. Through in the ability to have the initial C be caps or lowercase, depending on what you want, and you have the recipe for a solid snippet. Let’s get to work.

    Open TextExpander (iOS) and create a new snippet. See screenshot 1.

    TextExpander New Snippet




    Set the Label and Abbreviation to something of your choosing. See screenshot 2.

    TextExpander Label



    Finally, set the case sensitivity to Adapt to Case of Abbreviation. See screenshot 3.

    TextExpander Abbreviation




    This last part will allow you to type C or c and have the snippet expand accordingly. Try it to see what I mean.

    Next, type in the “opening” portion of your snippet using the word “correspondence.” See screenshot 4.

    TextExpander Opening







    The “middle” portion of the phrase is always “‘to” or “from”. We can use a “Fill-ins | Popup Menu” choice to select one of those automatically each time the snippet is triggered. See screenshot 5.

    TextExpander Fill-Ins





    Set the name of the fill in to your choice and then set the two options. The blue button indicates which choice will be selected by default. See screenshot 6.

    TextExpander Fill-in Popup






    Click OK and you should see something similar to screenshot 7.

    TextExpander Code







    The “ending” portion of the phrase is the word “regarding” with a space character after the “g”. Type that into your snippet as shown in screenshot 8.

    TextExpander Last Phrase







    The completed snippet should look like screenshot 9.

    TextExpander Phrase







    Now, open a document where you can type text. Type your Abbreviation and watch what happens. If you type a lower case character to start the Abbreviation, you will get a box that looks like screenshot 10.

    TextExpander Snippet

    Note that “to” is selected by default, but you can change that by clicking the dropdown (screenshot 11) or by typing the first letter of the other options in the list (here, f for from).

    TextExpander Snippet Drop Down




    So, if you used my “xcorr” abbreviation, type that phrase and the enter key. The result should be “correspondence to regarding ”.

    If you wanted it to be “from”, use “xcorr”, f, enter. The result should be: “correspondence from regarding ”.

    Simply use a capital “X” in “Xcorr”, and the to/from selector, to get “Correspondence to [from] regarding ”.

    Practice this a few times and you will definitely shorten the time it takes to write a billing entry.

    Read more. . .

    iOS App Sale | PDFpen, TextExpander, and PDFpen Scan+

    On the iPhone, one of my favorite apps is TextExpander.  I also really like, from the same company, PDFPen Scan +.  The maker of these apps, SmikeSoftware, has a bundle deal for the next few days.  If you buy PDFPen, Smile's PDF editing software for iPhone/iPad, these other two apps are free.  Check out the bundle here.

    Read more. . .

    Two great apps on sale

    My favorite PDF reader for iPad and iPhone (GoodReader) is on sale for $0.99 for a limited time. Get it if you don't have it.

    I'm also excited to try out the, by all accounts, excellent photo editor Pixelmator, which is also on sale for $0.99 for a limited time.

    Read more. . .

    T3:27 | Tips to Reduce Email Notification Distraction

    This week's Tech Tip Tuesday offers some ideas on how to reduce email notification distraction, without completely turning off all notifications.  Read the tip over at The Indiana Lawyer, here.

    Read more. . .

    T3:25 | iOS TextExpander 3

    For this week's Tech Tip Tuesday, I'm sharing links to my favorite iOS (iPhone/iPad) based text-expansion software TextExpander (TE) (by Smile Software).  The app goes on sale today for $0.99 with the price increasing by $1 per day until the sale ends March 20.

    I use this software every day on my iOS devices. It's great to be able to tap a few short keys and send out a large snippet of text. The custom keyboard is also slick. For more on what TE can do, check out this video by David Sparks.

    Investing a few minutes learning this software will save you hours over your lifetime. One idea is to have TE automatically a short phrase into a phone number. For example, I type "scell" and TE replaces that text automatically with my cell phone number. I use it to automatically expand names of family members (e.g., "s/" becomes "Seth") or to include an email signature block.

    TE snippets can sync across your iPhone/iPad and to your Mac so you have the same shortcuts available to you, no matter the device you are working on.

    TE does way more than just text expansion, but that is the subject of future posts.

    Download TextExpander 3 + custom keyboard - SmileOnMyMac, LLC for your iPhone (affiliate link).

    Download TextExpander 3 + custom keyboard - SmileOnMyMac, LLC for your iPad (affiliate link).

    What are your favorite text-expansion tricks?

    Read more. . .

    T3:23 | Wish List for Apps

    Recently, I started a post with a list of some of the apps I'm currently testing and some that are on my wish list. You can visit the list here. This post will show you how I create that list.

    I often read about an app I might be interested in, but don't want to purchase without further research. In today's Tech Tip Tuesday, I will show you how to add an app to a wish list using your iPhone or iPad.

    Open the App Store









    Browse for the App

    In this example, I'm searching for the Paprika iPhone app.

    When I browse to the app, you will see the share button (circled in red). Tap the share button to see some options.  (Incidentally, this button is available in many places in iOS).










    Next, the share sheet will open and you can see there is an option to "Add to Wish List."









    Check the Wish List

    Now, tap the List button, circled below, to see your wish list items.



















    Wish list for the Wish list

    It would be nice to be able to share the app directly from the wish list screen. This would come in handy if someone is looking to gift you an app. You can purchase directly from the wish list or you can tap on the app icon to return to the main page for the app and share from that page. Not a big inconvenience overall.

    Also, it would be nice to be able to rearrange the wish list. I would like to put the "next app up" so when I have a new gift card or extra funds, I can purchase the top item.

    How I use the Wish List

    I do a lot of reading through RSS feeds and on my iPhone (email, Facebook, Twitter). When someone links to an app I'm interested in, but not ready to research or purchase, I add that to my wish list. When I have some down time, I can browse to my wish list without getting distracted by the top charts in the App Store. The wish list helps me stay focused on tools I think will help me be more productive.

    Read more. . .

    T3:16 | OmniFocus 2 Updated iPhone App

    iphone omnifocus

    Recently, I've been using OmniFocus 2 as my primary task and project manager. Omni Group pushed out an update for the OmniFocus 2 for iPhone app last week.

    What I like best about OmniFocus 2 (which I use on Mac (OmniFocus 2 for Mac) and iPad (OmniFocus 2 for iPad)), is that it allows me to have projects within projects.

    For example, I have a master Project for each Matter or case I'm handling. Then, within that Project, I can have a sub-project with tasks under that sub-project.

    Many task managers only allow a project with tasks underneath. In my practice, matters always have various "projects" going on at any one time. It is nice to be able to focus in on one of those sub-projects at a time.

    Here are some screen shots to demonstrate what I'm talking about:

    01 project with subs




    Project with actions and sub-projects.


    02 single tasks








    03 subproject with tasks








    My office uses Windows, but because the Reminders app on my iDevices can sync with Microsoft Exchange, OmniFocus is able to grab those tasks from Reminders. I know, I sound like Charlie Brown's teacher.

    The process is simple: add a task in Outlook. That task syncs to the iDevice (iPhone/iPad) through the Reminders app. OmniFocus talks to the Reminders app automatically and pulls that task into the OmniFocus inbox. Pretty slick.

    Of all the task management apps I have tried, OmniFocus 2 is the best for my purposes.  It has a robust feature-set and can be customized to work for you.  There are also some excellent resources available to help you learn the program.

    Read more. . .

    T3:15 | Check out Microsoft Office Apps for iPhone/iPad

    This week's Tech Tip Tuesday is a recommendation to check out Microsoft's apps for Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel on the iPhone/iPad.

    I downloaded the apps and have to say that I'm impressed with the functionality. Jeff Richardson over at iPhone J.D. has a great review and admonition to read the license agreement (hint: free for non commercial use or viewing, but not editing).

    These apps work great, especially on the larger screen of the iPhone 6 Plus. Again, make sure you understand the licensing issues. It is also further evidence that the big three (Apple, Google, and Microsoft) continue to push cloud use on end users.

    If you have downloaded the apps, let me know your thoughts in the comments.

    Read more. . .

    T3:08 | Use "Hey Siri" to voice activate your iPhone

    Have you ever wanted to just tell your iPhone/iPad to activate Siri to perform a task?  Now you can.

    This week's Tech Tip Tuesday will show you how to set up your iDevice (iPhone/iPad) to have Siri listen for your voice and respond automatically.

    A couple of notes: (1) You must have iOS8 installed; and (2) you must have the iDevice plugged into a power source.

    So, what is "Hey Siri"?

    "Hey Siri" allows you to say "Hey Siri" and then the command.  When enabled, your iPhone is "listening" for this cue (which could explain why it has to be plugged in to work).  Once your iPhone hears the words "Hey Siri," it will activate Siri, just like you pressed the Home button.

    Let's say you have you have your iPhone plugged in.  You could say "Hey Siri," wait for Siri to beep, and then say "call the office."  Siri will dial the office for you.

    Or, "Hey Siri," text Steve Smith to meet me at the coffee shop.

    Here's how you set it up.

    Open Settings

    2014-09-23 21.30.02

    Tap General


    Tap Siri









    Switch "Hey Siri" to On

    Allow "Hey Siri"









    Note, if you haven't used Siri yet, make sure you have "My Info" connected to your contact card.

    How do you use Siri?

    Read more. . .